AN ARMY veteran has looked back on being caught up in riots in Libya during his first posting as a technician 50 years on.

A technician with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Jim Greenslade was thrown into frontline service after the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli war in June 1967 caused riots in Benghazi, Libya.

Aged 19, the Woolston parish councillor was on his first posting abroad with the 62 Station Workshops.

The unit was largely made up of drivers, signalmen, mechanics and clerks and not infantry soldier.

Jim said: "I was an indestructible 19-year-old at the time and it was my first overseas posting after I'd joined the army.

"I went there in January 1967, and six months later the Arab-Israeli war began and we as British soldiers were involved because of the relationship between Israel and the United Kingdom.

"We suddenly found ourselves as technicians, which we were rather than infantry soldiers, on the frontline helping the Americans to escape their embassy and to bring members of the family's of British ex-patriots into our barracks to protect them.

"After June it wasn't a very nice place to be and friends of ours were attacked with petrol bombs.

"The rest of the year passed off without event, but it was sad that we had to close down what had been a dedicated British forces unit out there."

To mark the 50th anniversary of the riots, REME veterans held a reunion earlier this year.

They returned home in early 1968 to find that the trouble involving British forces in Benghazi had gone unreported in the UK.

Woolston Parish Council deputy chair Jim, who received a bad led injury during the riots, added: "What was going on out there at the time was unknown in this country.

"When I returned to England in January 1968 my family knew nothing about what had been happening.

"I don't know whether it was an embarrassment to the British government of the day.

"My wife and I visited the REME Museum a few years back and they had no details whatsoever of our unit so I decided to try and pull together as many people as I could.

"We managed to celebrate a 50th anniversary reunion earlier this year - we hadn't seen each other for 50 years."